Bugs and Bots

March 23, 2009 by  
Filed under Geek Dad

Families in our area have been getting hammered by bugs the last few weeks.  Flu bug, stomach bug, strep throat, and who knows what else.  I got sick with the mini-flu that is going around a few weeks ago and promptly passed it on to a co-worker who then shared with his car pool and someone else in our office.  Some how our family didn’t get sick then, but now that I’m better we have all 4 kids coming down with a fever and boogers.  Fun.

The exciting news in our house is an upcoming project I am researching.  We subscribed to the Best of Youtube podcast and have been watching it on our TV at night (thanks to PyTivoX).  One of the videos was instructions on building a Bristle Bot.  A bristle bot is a simple robot that uses vibration to achieve locomotion.

There are 3 ingredients:

  1. The head of a toothbrush (w/ angled bristles)
  2. The vibration motor from a pager or cell phone
  3. A watch battery

While cleaning out our spare bedroom to gather things for our upcoming garage sale I discovered 3 of our old cell phones.  Next I need to hit the dollar store for some toothbrushes and see if we have the batteries lying around.

The tricky part is extending the wires on the motor.  For the video they soldered on wires.  I’d love to get a chance to try soldering, but that would mean buying a soldering iron.  I think I’ll try to simply attach longer wires with electrical tape.

Of course, the uber-geek in me is not satisfied with construction without an element of destruction.  My brother sent me a video with ideas for modified bristle bots.  So now I am thinking we could get creative with a little aluminum foil and some paper clips.  Using the boards from our Kaskey Kids Hockey set we can have our own Battle Bots ring!

Stay tuned.  I’ll make sure to document the whole process and get some video of the bots in action.

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